It's spring training. Not a whole lot going on so reporters need something to talk about now that the Johan Santana story line is getting stale. So what's the logical next controversial topic? How about criticizing Jose Reyes.
Reyes slump in the last two months of the season last year caused many a critic to scrutinize his "born to hand jive" attitude in the dugout and the occasional dancing he seen doing in the midst of close games. People talk about how it's juvenile, or that it ticks off the opposing team.
I say, leave my Jose Reyes alone. The Reyes smile should not (and better not) go away. It's that childish smile and attitude is part of what makes him a likable and exciting player to watch. There's no doubt when you watch Jose Reyes that the guy enjoys the game of baseball. You don't need to have the demeanor of John Olerud to be a great baseball player.
However, Reyes is not excused from all criticism. If you want to criticize him about his lackluster effort running out base hits or his impatience at the plate, I'm right there with you. I think last season was a reality check for Reyes. The game was seemingly easy for him and he was taking it for granted. He wasn't making the right adjustments and didn't have the mental toughness to withstand a late season slump.
That's what the coaching staff should be examining, and I believe that Reyes knows this needs to be an area of improvement for him. But the top step handshakes and dugout giddiness that I see from Reyes is ok with me as long as he's producing.
If opposing teams don't like it, so what?
I expect big things from Reyes this year and a whole lot more walks. Reyes needs to bat around .310 for the Mets to have a successful season. I'm confident that when he gets on base Beltran, Wright and Alou (when healthy) will drive him in.
I'm psyched for opening day and there's no one else I want at the top of my lineup more than Jose Reyes. Hand jives and all.